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How to Draw Your Own Clip Art 

Note on large files:  Very large files may be bigger than your screen.  
Right click on any portion of the image showing and chose "save as". 




FreeTiiuPix is primarily a resource for high resolution photographs.  During my teaching career there have been times, however, when a clip art image is more appropriate for a lesson plan, etc.  I use them to decorate lesson plans, assignment sheets, etc. I have a small collection of clip art images that I'm happy to share with you subject to the Terms of Use.

All clip art on this site has been drawn by me and you can do it too!  I use a simple tracing technique - and you don't need to be artistic!!  


How to Make Your Own Clip Art

STEP 1 - Find an image that you like making sure there is no copyright.  Remember that copyright rules restrict you from reproducing an image in any form or medium, or preparing a work that is based on or derived from an original work in any form or medium.  The same goes for any of my photographs or any you might find on a search engine.  Copyrighted images may not be used to make clip art!  Always read the Terms of Use carefully for any image you use.  My suggestion - take your own pictures if you want to make clip art.  As an example, I am using one of my own images of summer lilies.

STEP 2 - Open your image in a photo software application.  I'm using an older version of Serif PhotoPlus x4, but any photo editing software that will allow you to place and draw on a 2nd or 3rd clear layer will do.  Now place a 2nd clear layer on top of your image. 

STEP 3 - On the clear layer, (make sure you are not drawing on the photo layer!) use a pencil tool and begin tracing the photograph.  You can get as detailed as you would like.  Notice that in my chosen image, I'm not copying all of the flowers nor leaves, only a cluster I've chosen that I want in the middle.

Right:  Notice the tracing lines on the image.  Keep in mind that you are tracing on the CLEAR layer, and not on the original image.  The idea is to "draw" a new image onto the clear layer and delete the original photograph layer later.

You can use black lines and fill in the spaces later with colour - this will give you a colouring book effect, or keep changing the pencil tool colour as you go, thereby eliminating any black lines.

Experiment also with various sizes of pencil nibs.  Thin lines are good for tracing, but thicker lines are good for colouring and adding texture.

STEP 4 - Once your tracing is complete, begin using the flood fill feature and fill in all the spaces of your image.  Try to pick colours that are as close as possible to the original photograph.  Remember to save any colour you use in "custom colours" in case you need to go back later to do some touch ups.  Experiment with filling an area with one colour and adding details atop with another.  If you aren't sure you may like the results, just make your additions in another layer.


Your tracing layer should look something like this.  Keep in mind, that just tracing, without adding any colour, will give you a great "colouring book" page that you can use in lesson plans or for a bored child on a rainy day.

Think about a science class in which you are discussing metamorphosis.  Creating a colouring book image of a butterfly image you've taken would greatly enhance your lesson plan. 

After the tracing is complete, begin adding colouring using the pen nib and the colour flooding feature.

Ensure that all your lines touch making sure that each image area is completely encircled.  When using the flood fill feature, any spaces you may have missed will result in your entire image being flooded with colour.  No problem, just undo, find the missing gap and fill it in.


Continue to add colours.  Remember to custom SAVE any colour you use in case you need to use it again later.  

Try to use colours in the same family - lighter and darker shades of the same hue.

Layer with no shadow.

Remember that you can add colours on top of each other either by drawing directly over top a hue or by adding another photo layer and drawing on top of that.


STEP 5 - For a shadow effect - you can either draw one, or use your existing tracing.  Copy or use the duplicate feature depending upon your software, your traced graphic onto another layer.  Ensure that this duplicate layer is the one furthest back.  Colourize the entire back layer a suitable shade of gray.  Now, using a movement or shift tool, move your back shadow layer down and to the right of your traced graphic layer so it is just slightly offset.  Just a hint of a shadow is better than too much.


The back layer with most of image colourized to gray.  Don't waste your time colourizing the whole image, only the outside part of the image will be showing.

The back layer is now slightly offset to show a hint of the gray.


STEP 6 - You are almost done!  Delete the original photograph layer.  Using whatever method your program allows, either compress the two layers or export them (Serif PhotoPlus x4 uses "Export Optimizer").  Exporting or saving as a JPEG image will give you a clip art image with a white background.  I prefer to export or save as a PNG thereby giving you a smaller image with no background.  Your new clip art image will blend in beautifully to any coloured background and will look like it's been "clipped" or cut out.

Here's to happy clip art making!


Day Lily - 1
Note:  This is a PNG image with a clear background.

Medium - 426 x 336  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.



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